Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Educational Specialist (EdS)



Committee Chair(s)

Maryellen McClain


Maryellen McClain


Gretchen Peacock


Tyler Renshaw


Some degree of anxiety in learning situations is expected and normal. However, excessive anxiety and stress negatively affect cognitive performance, especially working memory, concentration, and sustained attention. Studies have shown that higher success in academics is related to a better ability to maintain focus on the information presented including auditory and visual attention. College students who are better able to manage stress are more successful than those who cannot. One method of coping with stress and anxiety is the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment, be aware of one’s mind, body, and surroundings, and the ability to filter out distractions that are stressful in one’s life. Mindfulness practice has been found to improve adaptability in stressful situations, attention regulation, and focus. College students may be vulnerable to distractions, which increase stress and can make it difficult to perform well academically. Mindfulness promotes self-awareness and attention to the present moment, which can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve overall psychological well-being. The current study examined the associations mindfulness has with academic stress, attention, and perceived attention skills in college students. Sixty-two college students (M = 22.6 years, 61.3% female) completed a variety of self-report measures and standardized performance measures of attention. Results indicated that greater levels of mindfulness were associated with lower levels of academic stress, but did not show a strong relationship between mindfulness and attention. The potential of mindfulness training on attention and stress for college students is discussed.